Saturday, November 21, 2015

Telling the Story

I have been traveling in Montreal for work. And have had the privilege of connecting with some religious communities here. We talk about many things, the life of the community, our own stories, hopes, dreams and challenges.
And often, the conversation rolls around to how many 'younger' sisters do you have in your community. Many communities and federations are gathering their sisters under the age of 60 in order to build their networks and share their insights into the life of their communities, past, present and future.
These conversations give me the opportunity to share the story of Sister 2.0 and of Giving Voice, and to share my hopes and dreams for religious life. We have an opportunity to re-invent the life, not in terms of hundreds of thousands of sisters that graced the 20th century, but in terms of the small communities of sisters set on fire to incarnate the life and mission of Jesus in our particular time and place. We do this not by rolling up our sleeves and building great institutions, but by joining with others to address the pressing needs of today and adding our unique contribution.
I thank God for this time of transition and shifting consciousness.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Co-Creators of our Story

20-Something Nun is a short news clip that shows the radical choice of a 20-something Sister of Charity. Increasingly women are seeking out religious life. It is not a floodgate, but a trickle of women coming to communities that show all the signs of disappearing before these women reach their 25th Jubilee. What does it mean to vow to live forever in a community with a median age near 80-years-old?
I believe we are seeing is a shift in religious life as these smaller groups of women take the risk, follow the call and join women that are 2-3 times their age. As younger women, we can begin to reimagine religious life well into the 21st century, even while we have the giants of the 20th century still in our midst.
Religious life is different now than it was 20, 30 and 50 years ago. And it will be even more different in the coming 20, 30 and 50 years. The women who come today want to live in continuity with the 2000 year history of religious life. We want to live the gospel radically in this time and in this place. Coming today, at this time of seismic shift, we have the blessing and the challenge of co-creating our own future, and the future of this ever ancient, ever new movement that is religious life.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Opting for Community

A friend of mine shared an article on community by David Roberts. The author often writes about energy and climate change, but in this piece, he turned to the topic of community. For many of us, community is part of the answer to sustainability and lowering our energy use. When we come together in community, we can share resources and more efficiently.
In this article, David shared another aspect of community. Namely, the quality of human relationships that formed when disparate folks are thrown together in community, or make a deliberate choice for community. These communities are often the hot-bed for deep and meaningful, life-long relationships.
In community, we negotiate shared values and we navigate differences. The day to day, week to week, year after year efforts to work together can build lasting relationships that can endure long separations and still be sources of friendship and support.
Shared experiences of community can bind college friends together, as well as families and others who experience intense community relationships.
I am more interested in community in the context of religious life. I have experienced the deep and lasting friendships and the mutual support that we afford one another in our communities. We share a commitment to vowed religious life and to our particular charismatic expression of religious life. I am grateful for this aspect of religious life which brings us into circles of community.
I also have the privilege of living with other sisters, in an eco-village. We form community to help one another to build community and sustainability. On Halloween, we joined others in the eco-village for a pot-luck and for trick-or-treating with the kids in our neighborhood. How rich I am in these circles of relationship!